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FIA race director charlie whiting spells out rear wing rulings
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FIA race director charlie whiting spells out rear wing rulings
Posted By: James Allen  |  15 Mar 2011   |  8:36 pm GMT  |  161 comments

FIA President Jean Todt and race director Charlie Whiting have written to F1 pass holders with some thoughts ahead of the new season, Whiting in particular going into some detail about how the FIA’s Race Control, which is under his direction, will manage the new adjustable rear wing, which he refers to as the DRS.

This is an interesting step for the FIA, who have not previously made a communication of this kind in this way and particularly with Whiting and Todt presented together as there have been some whispers during the second half of last season that factions within the FIA were looking to replace him, something the teams were very against.

Whiting (L) and Herbie Blash (Darren Heath)


The rear wing can be used at any time in practice and qualifying. But Whiting spells out how the system will work in the race to allow a following car to use his rear wing to attempt a pass,

“Proximity to the car in front will be detected before the straight on which the wing may be activated, ” he writes. “If the car behind is less than one second behind (as judged by the installed timing loops in the track) the driver will be told that his system is “armed”, however, he may only use it when he reaches the designated point on the following straight. This point is likely to be 600 metres before the braking point for the following corner, this may however be adjusted according to data gathered during testing and practice.

“There will be marks (lines) on the track to show the area where proximity is being detected and a line across the track at the point where the drivers whose system is armed may deploy it.

“Furthermore, the television broadcasters will be sent a signal each time a system is armed and this will be displayed to the viewers. ”

Race control is keen not to be seen as ‘interfering’ too much in the outcome of a battle or a race. This is sensitive ground and interestingly Whiting says that the idea was “a proposal the teams made to the FIA” – spelling out whose bright idea this was in the first place, perhaps in case it doesn’t work so well. Frankly it is unlikely to work all that well in Melbourne as the zone in question is the pits straight which isn’t very long and has a difficult corner to overtake into at the end of it. We will get a much better idea in Malaysia with its long straights, topped and tailed by slow corners.

From the simulation work done so far it appears that the difference between a car using the wing and one not using it is likely to be in the region of 10-12km/h at the end of the straight.

He adds that that “the distance over which the Drag Reduction System (DRS) may be used is going to be tuned with the intention of assisting the following driver, not guaranteeing him an overtaking manoeuvre.

Some software has been written to allow drivers to over ride the system in the event of a failure, but Whiting says the FIA will heavily punish a team if they do that when not authorised to do so. They may use part of a free practice session in Melbourne to evaluate the system.

He also adds a final note that scrutineers will be applying “more stringent load/deflection tests on the front wing and the front of the floor,” than last year. It will be very interesting to see how much chatter there is about that. McLaren was very publicly playing with a load sensing device in Barcelona, measuring the front wing flex. If you can make the wing flex, as Red Bull did last season, there are massive gains to be had.

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161 Comments
  1. Rich says:

    What do you think about the wing James? Good or bad idea?

    1. James Allen says:

      I’m reserving judgement until half a dozen races in. But in general I don’t like introducing things which are too artificial and/or hard for commentators to explain to the public

      1. Phil says:

        Plus one to that. I’ve been a hardcore fan for 30 years and despite the ups and downs in entertainment terms, anything contrived to ‘improve the spectacle’ sucks in my view. Fixed wings, slick tyres, ditch the diffuser… we want to see driver talent winning!

        The first generation of the wide front wing looked so out of place you could have called it a snow plough… Artificial rain, for heaven’s sake. What’s next? Snow? Passing lanes (shudder)? Why not just get Top Gear to give the drivers a challenge at each pit stop and be done with it.

      2. Ajay says:

        A Top Gear challenge at an F1 race? I’d watch that. It would get boring after a couple of races though.

      3. kowalsky says:

        i agree to a certain extent. I have been a fan for as long as you, and the thing that concernes me the most, is the feeling i get, when i am at a race track. The cars look slow, and the sound is not impressive. All those things you mention, are secondary in my view. First we need f1 cars that give you goose bumps, and then when that’s achieved, we can start focusing on artificial rain, rear wings etc.

      4. Davexxx says:

        I totally agree with James.

      5. Two words spring to mind – Mickey Mouse.

        It’s all a bit contrived and artificial and will be a nightmare to put across to the viewing public, especially as it’ll be used in conjunction with KERS and its attendant rules.

        For all the complication and bafflement that KERS adds, it is an important part of the sport’s future though and I feel that’s where the moveable rear wing falls down. It’s just a device for its own sake – purely to impose an advantage on following cars to artificially foster more overtaking. At least the moveable front wing had a useful application in correcting the car’s balance as fuel levels dropped last year.

      6. TM says:

        Hi James

        I feel very cheated. Back when this idea was first agreed on, I wrote here and asked whether the teams would pay attention to the disgust from fans at this Nintendo nonsense. You said they would. Now, I certainly don’t blame you for them clearly not paying attention, but does anyone else feel cheated?

        If most other fans were in favour of DRS, then fine. But reading here, it seems that practically nobody is. Whitmarsh et al will say that they are listening, like when he said that if it doesn’t work then they will remove it. But what he doesn’t get is that we don’t want it to work – because that would mean they’ve successfully made the racing artificial.

        Now there is a clear distinction between real fans and those they’re aiming to please with DRS. The former are people like those on this website, who have been watching F1 through the good and bad. The latter are people who know nothing about F1 (aka ‘new markets’), and I suspect are those who we all know; “the only good bits are the crashes” type people. Now I have nothing against new people becoming fans, but not at the very clear expense and anger of the loyal fans, who the F1 insiders clearly do not give a damn about and take for granted.

      7. James Allen says:

        THat is a very interesting point and I would like to drill down into this.

      8. Sebee says:

        Look, there are many out there who would take the safe approach and change nothing.

        I applaud the FIA for at least trying something for 2011. For years we the fans complain that lack of passing is an issue, now we have the DRS, KERS and fragile tires. All the driver aids over the years have resulted in cruise control racing over the years – I’m all for well thought out variables being brought into the mix. You accept automatic paddle shifting gear boxes now, weren’t they a gimmick at some point? Will anyone here seriously argue that their introduction took away from the spectacle, the driver skill, and most importantly passing opportunities? Since manual gear boxes aren’t a realistic option in F1 today – DRS and KERS it is.

        Also, James is right that he’s reserving judgment, but perhaps is viewing it with questions and wishes to be proved wrong.

        Let’s let a few races take place and see what they came up with. I recall some major UK newspaper declaring that you should put down a layer of paint next to your TV in 2010 because it’s more interesting to watch it dry than F1 will be after Bahrain. We could discuss if it was pure or due to peripherals(as per Fan’s view back a few months), but whatever your conclusion – you can hardly say 2010 was a boring show.

        Rome wasn’t built in a day. Give 2011 spec a chance. If it doesn’t work, will it really be that hard to remove DRS and KERS from the cars? I think not.

        Now, someone please show me photos of F1 hardware arriving in Australia. I’m developing an anxiety twitch.

      9. kowalsky says:

        yes the fia and the fota take us, the old fans, for granted. They are just focusing on getting new fans.
        Trying to get a woman driver is their last eureka moment.
        They lost me already, and i imagine i am not the first one.

      10. irish con says:

        most sense ive heard on here in long time. totally agree with you. get rid of that terrible idea and i for one am dead against kers. me and eddie jordan agree on something. someteams cant afford it aswell

    2. JJ MUPPET OMG JUST FOR THIS POST says:

      I am very against this idea, it is not racing under any circumstances. A far more sensible idea has to be at hand. If it comes down to those degrading tyres, how stupid F1 will look with this desperate approach.

      1. Rich says:

        Yeah,lets wait and see i guess. Its typical though, that the one year they probably dont need the wing (as we have new tyres + no double diffusers) its been implemented :/

      2. Declan says:

        Agree – with all the other devices, it seems unnecessary to introduce the DRS this year.

        Maybe Tilke is also on the committee; and he grew tired of the incessant natterings that circuits [designed by him] were limiting overtaking so he is making sure that all his lovely long straights gets used.

        It is a pity that the phrase ‘last of the late brakers’ will now no longer be relevant.

  2. Nathan says:

    “They may use part of a free practice session in Melbourne to evaluate the system.”

    - Using part of a FP session to see how it works is a great idea, finally, some common sense from the FIA if it goes ahead. They should take one of, or both of, the 90 minutes sessions and cut it into two bits ; one hour of normal practice and 25 minutes of rear wing testing, with a 5 minute break in between.

    This would allow the FIA to perfect it somewhat at each track and remove some of the growing pains it may have.

    Personally I am not enthralled by the DRS but I realise it may have value in the short term, and I actually think it should be better on shorter straights like Melbourne where it helps the driver behind get a bit closer to have a chance of passing into a breaking zone. If the ‘zone’ gets too big then they will have to make it smaller or it will be too easy, and too artificial.

  3. Sebee says:

    You have to admit there is an added curiousity about this system. Will it help? Will it harm? Will it be an advantage to be in P2 on last lap at any track?

    Can’t wait.

    To be clear, the leading driver can’t deploy his DRS, right?

    P.S. Interesting opinion piece about BBC cuts in the Guardian. The seed has been planted.

    1. James Allen says:

      I think it’s a marker about getting the price down next time around. BBC has rights to the end of 2013.

      Yes to your question – leader cannot deploy DRS

      1. Chris of Adelaide says:

        Not even overtaking a slow back marker?

      2. Jack Flash says:

        Why would he need it assistance to pass a Slow Backmarker?…..

        unless…. the race leader has the 2nd placed car right up his tailpipes when he gets to the backmarker!!!

        Then, could the 2nd placed guy deploying DRS/ARW get an unfair double pass opportunity?

        This whole DRS schema has too many grey areas, that are yet defined into race rules. It will be a conditional circus – race by race; and a potetially explosive flashpoint for driver discontents. JF

      3. Aaron95 says:

        I assume that ITV will be looking to win back the rights to F1. They have kept their F1 website running and up to date throughout the period the BBC have been covering it.

      4. James Allen says:

        I wouldn’t rule anything out in that market place, but I think you’ll be able to work out who’s most likely to bid from watching who gets the Champions League, the FA Cup and the England home matches in the next 18 months or so. If the Beeb end up with most of those, ITV may have another run at F1, I guess. But I think the Beeb is trying to get the price down for the F1 rights.

      5. Nando says:

        It will make alot more sense for ITV to have F1 after the digital switchover. They really struggled to show everything on ITV1 before.
        Is F1 classed as a ‘crown jewel’ or will Sky/ ESPN be in the running? Hopefully it stays on the BBC to avoid adverts.

      6. James Allen says:

        It is not classed as a crown jewel, no. But FOM has pressure from teams and sponsors to seek a free to air deal in major markets to get the big audience numbers. If the money isn’t there, maybe it would go to Sky if they were looking to drive sales, with delayed coverage on terrestrial – this model is used in Japan and Finland among others

      7. unoc vII says:

        You have to remember that the BBC also garners money from selling their commentary to other countries. Here in Australia we get the sounds of Brundle and to-be-coulthard down our speakers directish from the British Satillites.

        My only wish is that
        a) The standard remains, the Forum, coulthard, brundle eddie jordon etc….
        b) We can see the whole thing. i.e. Run it without ads or stick ads in and make the race last 2 hours by spacing it out. THis could work if they had to run ads on the TV but ran it online for selected countries with ad banners to support it.

      8. JJ MUPPET says:

        The fact that the car behind can move their rear wing and the car in front can not move their rear wing could not be more contrived.
        I hope accidents do not occur like the Webber flip if three or four cars can move their rear wings and the leader or car in front of a following pack can not move their rear wing gets hit?

        I wonder if the speed differential in this scenario has been thought out clearly. Add to this the different speeds of the cars on vastly different tyres in the race.

        If one (soft) tyre at one wear (new) point is 8? seconds faster than another (hard) tyre at another (old) wear point surely this will have a huge impact (no pun intended) on this rear wing joke? Making the moveable rear wing almost dangerous if several cars at once are concerned?

        This is my second post on this subject I am so against it.

      9. Martin says:

        JJ,

        The car’s gearing will be a fundamental limit in the speed differential. The cars do not have the rev range or enough gears for there to be a difference of more than about 20 km/h (5.6 m/s), which is a lot less than when Kovalainen braked early in front of Webber.

        The worn tyres are a bigger issue than the wing for safety in terms of speed differentials due to needing to get on the brakes earlier, but again I really doubt it will be a big issue. The teams are in radio contact advising of who is slow and no one perished behind an HRT last year and they were often well off the pace.

        I agree the wing is against the spirit of what we want to see, but at this stage I don’t share your fears on safety. The multi-car slipstreaming occurs regularly on the super speedways in IRL and NASCAR and there if your not in the train on the oval you go slower. The big NASCAR crashes come from a density of cars that F1 just doesn’t have.

        Cheers,

        Martin

      10. seisteve says:

        James,

        I hugely respect the authority and responsibility that Charlie Whiting takes as race overseer and would like to understand why his position might be at risk within the FIA (hinted at in your article)… Whats the story do you know?

        Steve

      11. James Allen says:

        No, I think it’s one of those things when there are changes within a regime running an institution. There was some movement and discussion and so on, but Charlie is still there, which is good

  4. mike says:

    I’m still not convinced by this. Along with KERS, the closing speeds at the end of the straights are going to be very varied and with pirelli’s new tyres likely to throw marbles onto the track off the racing line i just fear some monumental pile ups or collisions.

  5. jmv says:

    Indeed: whose bright idea was this in the first place..

    I seriously think this is a ridiculous system. There was a time when F1 had a rule for obliging “non-movable aero components”.. it was a very interesting and pure rule.. as sometimes a team would be caught with a part of the rear wing..resting on the suspension.. and it would be deemed illegal. Or too much flex in wings.. illegal.

    That non-movable aero rule added some tension and suspense in the in-between sessions scrutineering.

    And now we have rediculous flaps.. that bring unnecessary safety risks.

    Full thumbs down!

    1. Stephen W says:

      Yes who actually came up with this idea in the first place? A group or one individual,and if its that good why have we not seen any names associated with it.
      I can only assume some geek had an idea to control reduced drag via the wing,the F duct is identical in its desired outcome,yet it has been banned.
      Looks to me like FIA “team orders”…….

      1. Satish says:

        Excellent point Stephen. The F-duct could have simply been left alone by the FIA instead of allowing / bringing in this DRS system.

        At the end of the day, DRS, KERS, F-duct, etc are all gimmicks that keep people salivating in anticipation till the season starts and the first few races are run. By then, the teams, drivers and spectators have figured out a routine that always works and when all 24 cars start doing the same, it’s an Epic Fail!

  6. Rob says:

    This whole thing is just a BAD idea waiting to happen IMO…. Fans will need a masters degree in fluid dynamics to understand who can use it when and how and who is faster the who without the artificial helper… Drivers will need to find another hand to press the buttons and at some point playing with the rear wing will cause a crash – either mechanical or more likely the driver running up the back of someone while playing with the buttons.

    Enough of the false overtaking thing… take a lot of wings off and put back big fat tires if we want to have overtaking :-) Otherwise leave the false boosting stuff (KERS included) out of this…. and while we are at it put refueling back on the list again.
    [mod]

    1. Luca says:

      100% agree – i can’t see this DRS or KERS making much difference to the outcome of the Herman Tilke tracks as there are too few places to really overtake, as well as Monaco.

      At the end of the day most cars will find themselves within the natural pecking order that the designs/engineering have dictated, so unless the KERS/DRS can bridge that gap and then some we are going to end up with a lot of races with people stuck behind each other – like Kimi with Fisi at Spa a few years ago. A lot of defensive driving and frustrating, artificial racing.

    2. Phil says:

      KERS is the one thing I don’t violently disagree with. I’d like to see F1 move back to a less restrictive technical regime around the power plant *but* with two provisos: 1. a strict fixed budget to cover car development, racing and driver salaries; 2. a restriction on the quantity of fuel to be carried. Keep the speed and technical excellence but bring in a need to maximise energy conversion

      Please, no more refuelling. It’s an unnecessary risk to the pit crews and artificially mixes up the cars, making racing even harder to follow for all but the hardcode fan.

      1. Jonathan Strutt says:

        Refuelling was very exciting and actually prevented potentially large fireballs and driver or spectator deaths out on track. Cannot see how a full tank from the start is safer.

        They should also ban KERS at the start and make the first say three laps non-KERS and unflappable!

    3. Rob Haswell says:

      “This whole thing is just a BAD idea waiting to happen IMO…. Fans will need a masters degree in fluid dynamics to understand who can use it when and how”

      Seriously? You can use it if you are one second behind the guy you are fighting for position, it’s not rocket surgery. Do you really think F1 fans – who have a high education rate – are going to struggle with this?

      1. Rob says:

        Yeah I do…. I cannot tell the difference between 1.1 and 0.9 seconds and I defy anyone else (in person or over the boob tube) to tell that difference either. We will all have to rely on timing/scoring or most of us on the TV people to say or some display on my already overcrowded screen (all the crap ads already take enough space). In person… I guess I have to watch on the big screen or buy the personal video thingi so I can “watch” the race.

        Age old stuff like in high and out low on the corner before the big straight will be less useful if you fall too far behind because you want to be close enough to use the gizmo on the end of the following straight, so depending how useful it turns out, it may actually dull the racing into that pre corner.

        I did like the suggestion up higher that there be some sort of indicator on the car – light on the camera mount or alike – that will indicate it’s on. I would actually like that for KERS as well if we have to play with these artificial things.

        Maybe we could also give each driver a wild card for 3 seconds to use at whatever part of the track… then we can all get the calculator out at the end to figure out who won on a time adjusted basis… That would make it more interesting surly :-)

  7. Nic Maennling says:

    This is a fundamentally bad idea. “This is what we have allowed you do to your car, and you can only use it when we say”. Unprecedented since the 1950s when I first started to follow F1. And on top of it all the tires are purposely made to wear out to introduce more pit stops ! It’s so easy to make any system more complicated. We need to see racing without the gimmicks. The move to really make overtaking easier has been hijacked by a committee and the resulting consensus is additional complication. Sad.

    1. Paul Kirk says:

      I totally agree! It’s bl—y laughable!
      (From another old guy who’s been following since the 50′s when we saw drifting, wheelspin, and slipstreaming! As well as variety!)
      PK.

    2. David C. says:

      Well said. Fat tires, small wings and NO paddle shifters! Its Formula One, its supposed to be hard. Maybe if they could miss a shift now and then there would be more passing. No push to pass of any kind, learn to pass, then drive in F1. The brave/skilled will make the pass (wink wink pay drivers). I have been a Formula One fan(US fan)for more then 20 years, so Ive seen the good years and the bad. Freeze the rules and let them race! High hopes for 2013.

      1. Wombat says:

        Is it not mindblowingingly stupid of F1 to not recognize the basics, that every formula one fan (ex in my case) can see from a country mile.

        Every year has been a disappointment for the past 7 years, as Charlie Whiting’s department have systematically destroyed the core of F1 racing, and turned it into a farce.

      2. James Allen says:

        It’s not exactly Charlie Whiting’s department. The rules are made by the teams and FIA in consultation.

      3. earnst says:

        I completely agree well said Wombat.

        I also should mentioned, Charlie Whiting is one of the most questionable person in F1.

  8. Marcus says:

    This is so Nintendo…not professional racing.

  9. . says:

    Everyone ridiculing the sprinklers over the track idea, but this rear wing malarky is way more artificial and laughable.

    With the sprinklers turned on, wetting the track, the drivers still have to show their own skills to be fastest. This rear wing thing however is nothing less than a clear technical/mechanical advantage a driver gains which the one in front doesn’t have.

    Totally pathetic and to me personally, any overtake with this gimmick is not a real overtake. I would prefer them driving around in trains than watching this artificial arcade game crap.

  10. Gaza says:

    James were the teams aware of the more stringent load tests on the frontwings/floors
    prior to winter testing.?

  11. Nick H says:

    I seriously doubt it will advantageous to be P2 on the last lap if the FIA stick to using the system on the start/finish straight. The cars will likely pass the finish line before the system can be deployed.

    Plus, if they get to the point where they allow the entire straight to be used, then the system probably isn’t effective enough to be able to pass easily enough by the time the finish line comes anyway.

    1. Alex W says:

      p2 on the second last lap?

  12. Neil Jenney says:

    I’m not a fan of the whole idea and bottom line, this will be gone next year and we all know it.

    That said, instead of sending something to the TV broadcaster to notify the viewer when the system is armed, I’d prefer to have something visible on the car. For example a light (in the dummy camera?) so that we don’t have to depend on the TV producer being awake and supplying a graphic. I like the idea of the car in front seeing the car bearing down on them lighting up in their mirrors and we all know where we stand.

    1. Jack Flash says:

      Great Idea!
      What about both to be sure? TV notification and on-car lighting indications….

      Perhaps a row of high intensity LED light-strips along the Floor Edges on either side like the racers from the movie “Fast and the Furious”. The LED strips could glow when DRS is armed on the car, and then light up in strobing sequences or pulses when DRS is actually deployed.

      Singapore night race would then require drivers to wear RayBans to avoid retinal fatigue and flash blindness.

      Nothing contrived in this – is there??????

      What a joke FIA.
      KISS principle FIA – say no more. JF

    2. Rob says:

      Ya know… If we really gota do this [as I typed earlier BAD idea] then this is a GREAT IDEA…. The FIA are saying that it’s obvious due to the lines on the track but that is c*** since you will not know how close the following car is without been told but a bight light on the top of the following car would make it obvious.

    3. weeraz says:

      I like that idea! How easy is it to put something like that in so late in the design process?

  13. AlexD says:

    James, I do not fully understand the front wing flexing – It was visible that the wing is flexing on Red Bull and a bit less on Ferraris. The wing is a simple thing. Why is it so complex for engineers to get to the same point as Red Bull? This is just incredibly hard to understand – there is no mystery.
    DO you have any idea? Can you share what you know?

    1. devilsadvocate says:

      It’s not complex to make the wing flex, the complexity comes from the fact that Red Bull, at least from photos, seemed to have found a way to make their wing very flexible when at speed but rigid when placed under strain from the scrutinering checks. This can be as simple as the checks aren’t tough enough or they had some really slick tech that makes wing flex nonlinear like piezo electrics or very precise layup of the carbon fiber or something so complicated us mere mortals don’t understand it.

      1. AlexD says:

        yes, but the check aren’t tough enough for all- why other teams can’t do the same thing as Red Bull?

      2. Dent42 says:

        I think the issue was not that the wing itself flexed, but rather that the nose holding the wing flexed. That’s why they could pass the FIA test – as only wing flexure was measured? Under aero load the entire nose would droop making the front wing more effective (more downforce or less drag whichever way round it was).

  14. Jordan S says:

    I agree with a lot of comments here – it’s too artificial. I’m also uncomfortable with the precedent it sets for introducing gimmicks for increasing the “entertainment value.” I want Formula 1 to be the pinnacle of motor racing, not a motor racing World Wrestling Federation. They need to keep the racing pure and simple. Don’t confuse people, this is supposed to be a sport. Moving in this direction will damage F1′s credibility. Don’t even get me started on Bernie’s “gold-medal”, “short-cut”, and “artificial wet races” ideas; for my own self-respect I’ll have to stop following F1 if it ever goes that far.

  15. David Turnedge says:

    Not a fan. Way too tricky. I wonder if saving KERS to fend off someone behind will negate the rear wing – making the whole thing a pointless complication to an already complicated sport?

    Why not:

    Spec chassis (including aero)
    Unlimited engine and transmission spec (no refuelling)
    More than one tyre manufacturer

    Cheaper way to run F1 with more of a focus on team set up, driver performance and real world tech: tyres, engine, transmission, economical performance.

    1. Rob says:

      KERS alone will not save the car in front cause I assume the following car will be on KERS as well as POS or DRS or whatever it’s called while the one in front will only have KERS.

  16. MatthewF1 says:

    Yes, this sounds a bit tentative, as I’m sure it will be for a while.

    I think people might be forgetting that there will still be normal, non-DRS overtaking as well. I’m sure people like Lewis will not wait until one spot on the track to attempt a pass.

  17. Nemo says:

    Im not a big fan of the movable rear wing. I hope this years WDC goes to the best racer, not the best button pusher

  18. Toby Keen says:

    Will the driver be able to acidentally activate this outside of the zone? I.e. is it down to him to judge the precise moment he crosses the line on the track? What are the penalties for activating marginally outside the zone? Flagrant misuse on another part of the track is easily policed. A few meters around the zone is a going to cause a few protests / penalties.

  19. jonrob says:

    According to what some of the drivers have said, in Oz the 1 second separation is to be measured at a single point two bends before the pit straight.
    This leaves the question “What happens if the driver behind is 1.1 seconds apart when measured, but then starts to close up on the one in front, as far as everyone can see from the rules, he cannot then use the DRS even though he is well within the 1 second gap.

    It is frankly, ridiculous and unworkable, if the FIA need to impose petty and intricate rules on the use of the DRS then they should first install gap measuring systems along the whole of the length of the “approved usage zone”.

    It is a sad parallel to the temporary “Power up” to be had in the video game of Galaxians or Space invaders. (Yes I am that old and did put my 2/- bits in a stack on the top of the machine)

    Regarding the “more stringent tests of front wings and floor”, the load is 1000N this year double that of last year, and the method of application is slightly different, as is the floor load test. (although in my opinion this is tested in the wrong direction)

    So Charlie and his staff are going to be extra busy all season!

  20. AgBNYC says:

    I really don’t understand the “haranguing”…. we will see how it’s implemented. This is at least an acknowledgement that F1 has become way too “formulaic” and too dependent on aerodynamics.

    Gone are the days of the mechanical aspects… (Lighter) Ford V8 vs. Renault V10 and (Heavier, thirstier) Ferrari V12… those machines represented the philosophies of their respective manufacturers and were fantastic for the fans (identifying the cars without even being able to see them)…

    Let’s hope these ideas, spur more changes – recognition that aerodynamics are a problem is a “good” sign…. It all depends on the implementation and where they go from here.

  21. Robin Venables says:

    Charlie states, “If the car behind is less than one second behind (as judged by the installed timing loops in the track) the driver will be told that his system is “armed” and “There will be marks (lines) on the track to show the area where proximity is being detected and a line across the track at the point where the drivers whose system is armed may deploy it.” However, “This point is likely to be 600 metres before the braking point for the following corner, this may however be adjusted according to data gathered during testing and practice.” What is the point?

  22. Brandon says:

    The movable wing is a terrible response to the F-duct. At least the F-duct flowed naturally with the race. The movable wing is so artificial, but I guess this is apt in an era where the regulators have a hand in every little detail.

  23. Craig D says:

    If the DRS serves as an aid to overtaking – in a situation where current F1 car and track design often renders it near impossible – without its effect being so extreme as to render things solely artificial, which I doubt it judging by the evidence so far, then I don’t think it’s going to spoil the racing. So I’m going to remain optimistic. At the end of the day no one wants another case where we turn up to Barcelona and Budapest, knowing it’s going to be a dull, follow the leader affair, as if the norm.

    Ultimately though, I agree with what Martin Brundle said on a recent BBC preview, that the new systems of KERS and the DRS won’t matter since the tyres are going to create overtaking all by themselves!

    And I don’t get those that bemoan the tyres. Yes, perhaps they are a tad too soft, but the tyres before were far too hard and shouldn’t be able to last a full distance with the driver just banging out the same laptimes with little care to their condition. We have more variables and driver influence this year I believe. More variables is good for unpredictabilty!

  24. Mike says:

    They are too many new variables this year. The Pirelli tyres are a necessity and maybe bring back KERS, but the FIA should have left it at that. Wait and see what happens with the new tyres then maybe introduce overtaking aids such as adjustable rear wings. It’s not like it wasn’t pretty well mixed up and exciting last year.

    Now overtaking is going to be scrutinised more than ever before to determine whether it was driver brilliance or the adjustable rear wings which permitted the overtake, which to me takes away a little bit of the spectacle of F1.

    It’s akin to making golf courses easier so TV viewers can see more birdies from the top pros. When what people really want are the top players raising their game on the toughest of courses and seeing brilliant golf. Then people are in greater admiration of the sport and its top players. I feel F1 is going in the opposite direction. It may all become a little fake where great overtaking isn’t the reserve for the great drivers. Everyone just becomes average. I am sure Senna would disapprove.

  25. Gabriel says:

    I would really like the moveable rear wing to be deployable at more than one spot on the circuit but only allowed once per lap. That way, the defending driver wouldn’t necessarily know when it’s being used against him. I think this would add an interesting extra element of tactics.

    1. Jonathan Strutt says:

      great suggestion, and then perhaps allow defence by MRW but only once per lap too. When you come up behind another car you may not know if he/she has used theirs that lap, and they may not know if you have!

  26. Aussie Rod says:

    Firstly, I’m not a fan of the rules controlling how the DRS is going to be used in the race. I think it’s artcifical, un-necessary and not in the spirit of what F1 is and should be.

    More importantly though, I am fascinated by the rule allowing drivers to use it in qualifying. This is a big deal.

    Can drivers now take Eau Rouge / flat with the wing open? Or Copse? Or 130R?

    How well will drivers optimise it around a lap? Like the f-duct last year, we saw some drivers struggle with it whilst others were all over it. The DRS will alter the balance of the car even more dramatically than the F-duct so this could be a real differentiator between drivers.

    The first two corners of the Maggots / Beckets complex are flat nowadays. I can’t wait to see how long drivers can hold the DRS open heading into this complex whilst still maintaining balance and confidence. And then seeing how they balance the car when the flap snaps shut mid-way through a +250kph sequence of corners!

    Driver controlled adjustable aerodynamics could be the next step in the evolution of what a driver actually does and at the very least it is going to be interesting.

    1. Ben M says:

      I was wondering about this too. Imagine if one driver decides he’s going to try and go through, say, Eau Rouge with the DRS active. Imagine the massive improvement in lap time… and imagine how huge the accident would be if he didn’t have enough rear grip to keep the car under control. We could see some huge accidents in quali this year.

  27. Jeroen says:

    I recon most teams will just use it for qualifying on some circuits but will after a few races drop it as I doubt you can get enough speed advantage to actually overtake on a straight. Especially with the counter measure of Kers.

    By the way Williams now at €20. Sorry if you already lost 20% but I can’t see them get back to £25 ever unless Williams gets to top 4 again. By the time the first race is over they’ll be below €18 at which point Patrick head should buy them all back and be done with this silly idea.

  28. James says:

    I’ll wait and see how this goes, but I’ll say this; It’s really dull and difficult to explain the wing thing to people.

    1. James Allen says:

      I always believe in the concept of the “elevator pitch” – if you can explain something to someone cold in the time it takes to go up three or four floors in a lift, then its a good concept. If it takes lot more explaining, it’s not refined enough yet..

      1. craigdaly77 says:

        So I guess the person/s who came up with this idea uses the stairs instead!!

  29. dj says:

    Is it me or is this getting just a ittle bit ludicrous? How on erath is this supposed to make it better to watch? Why is it “bad” to watch right now? We have just, last year, had one of the most entertining seasons for a long while where the best team won, in the end, after a great season’s battle. Now those that need to fiddle are fiddling about in the extreme to try and fix something that is not really broken. F1 is not Nascar. If thats what people want then fine, go and watch that but trying these ridiculous tweaks to the current format just adds more expense & confusion. Leave it alone, let it evolve as technonolgy evolves with it or because of it. Let it be eliteist if it wants to be. Isn’t that what made it as popular as it is today anyway?
    Spend that money thats currently being wasted on trying to “improve” the spectacle on reducing the cost of a ticket to Silverstone instead.

  30. Lilla My says:

    I need to see the DRS working first – I hope the viewers in front of TV won’t be too confused with what’s actually going on. For now, it seems too artificial for me and I’m very sceptical, but maybe it will work just fine. We’ll see…

    James, I’ve got one question, because I don’t know if I understand one thing correctly. In case when one driver follows another one closely, the second one is allowed to use DRS while the first one (leader) is not and that’s clear.
    Here you say that:
    “The rear wing can be used at any time in practice and qualifying.” Does it mean that in FP and qualifying one can use the DRS whenether he wants – no matter if he’s following someone or he’s got a clear track in front?

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, exactly. A driver can use it as much as he wants on a quali lap and there is lap time to be had from making maximum use of it. Equally it’s a trap for a less able driver, so we will see some spins and shunts in quali, I reckon, as they use it in the wrong place or at the wrong moment. Tricky.

      1. unoc vII says:

        Close rear wing
        Brake
        Gear Down
        Gear Down
        Gear Down
        Turn
        Throttle
        Gear Up
        KERS
        Gear Up
        Rear Wing
        Gear Up
        Rear Wing Closed
        Brake
        Gear Down
        Gear Down
        Gear Down
        Turn
        Throttle
        Gear Up
        Open Wing
        Gear U….

        That’s alot, and I feel that at the end of the day especially when drivers qualify so closely we (as the audience) will be left wondering…

        “Did _____ really get around the track half a tenth quicker than ______ or did he just hit the rear wing slightly earlier on a few straights and shut it off slightly later?”

        We already see the differences in quali between the RBR drivers being less than half a tenth on average. If one just out qualifies the others is it really a show of driving skill or just an ability to press buttons faster?

        Personallly that kind of hurts it a bit for me

      2. Armchair Critic says:

        Vitaly Petrov said that the DRS is easy to operate as all you need to do is press the button whenever you press the throttle. Could the button be mounted under the throttle pedal to make it easier still?

      3. Ian H says:

        does the wing adjustment not automatically cancel/reset once the brake is applied?

      4. pierscouragefan says:

        Yes, their fingers will be dancing on the buttons faster than a concert pianist`s.
        — Actually, that might give Sutil an advantage!

      5. F12010 to kill time until March says:

        They have more buttons and switches too! Brakebalance and other maps and settings between sectors etc to complicate things further.

        This is good news for Alonso and Schumi I think, given he is back to he`s old self-looking good. Im guessing Ross Brawn also sees opportunity in the complexities of the new rules.

        My guess is that within a month, a lot more simulator and mabe even multi-task training exercises will be going on for most of the drivers. Fitness to keep concentration will be more important than ever!

        I am most curious to find out how different drives will tacle this. Will Vettel make new tyes of mistakes, or will Webber fall trough? what about Hamilton, will he loose his cool earlier this season? And Massa, will he last the season?

        There is so many things to look forward to this season im almost lost for words..

      6. Lilla My says:

        Thanks :). That makes me even more excited waiting for the new season! And I thought it would be impossible. Only 8 days left before the first practice session! :)))

    2. ACB says:

      I’m not understanding the ‘too complicated for the fans to understand’ meme. Were the moveable elements on the front wings too hard for the fans to understand? During race coveragne seldom heard a thing about them. KERS on the other hand had a handy graphic that showed charge and discharge, pretty simple, and straightforward. It will indeed be a matter of how they use the driver adjustable rear wing and when, timing and strategy are still everything.

      1. Lilla My says:

        I know what you mean, but you would understand my worries if you were watching the races with a commentator who keeps on confusing drivers, teams and doesn’t notice overtaking manoeuvres… so I’m rather worried that it will be one more element for the commentators in my country to confuse ;-). And when they are confused, they make the viewers confused as well with their commentry. I might try turning the sound off…
        And it’s not the problem of understanding the DRS – that is explained, but rather to follow when it’s used and when not. Of coursse maybe sometimes you don’t have to really know that it’s used (someone overtaks somebody else and it’s fine, whether with the use of DRS or without it), but I would like to know what’s going on ;-).
        My biggest concern is still that it’s too artificial… but for now I’m giving it the benefit of a doubt and don’t jugde it yet:).

      2. iceman says:

        We heard little about the front wing flap adjustment because it never really worked as intended. It was conceived for the same purpose as the DRS – the idea was that drivers could use the FFA to get back the lost front downforce when following another car, and thus make it easier to pass.
        It never worked as a “push to pass” device though, and instead was used by most teams to make more subtle adjustments to the trim of the car for fuel load and tyre wear. So this time the FIA have gone for something much more extreme, and fenced it with rules to prevent it being used in a race for anything other than push-to-pass.

  31. Locky says:

    Won’t the driver being overtaken – be told by his team that the following driver’s DRS is armed – so all he has to do is press his KERS button and defend?

    Since the DRS can only be used in one spot – it makes little difference if the leading driver uses all his KERS because he’ll get it back on the next lap, which in Melbourne’s case is the same spot where the DRS can be activated.

    All I can see is carnage at turn one Melbourne – front car with KERS fully engaged and late braking, following car with DRS engaged & late braking – both overshoot the corner on the Pirelli marbles and end up in the kitty litter. Surely this will happen over and over?

    1. Ben M says:

      The driver behind will be able to use DRS and KERS at the same time, so the only question is whether they can brake in time :p

  32. Russel says:

    If they are within a second they should be able to use it at will to counteract the lead driver blocking in the ‘specified’ area!

  33. james b says:

    I have no problem with it in theory. If it works and it is an aid and is not basically a push to pass button then I think it will enhance the racing. I’m not someone who thinks it is too artificial because the rules today (because the designers are so good) have made the cars so similar. I mean let’s face it if you put the 1990′s rules in place the cars would be so quick it would be frigtening so the sport for me is already manipulated.

    I think that we will see an increase in the zones and at Monaco it will make no difference. I agree with the sentiment that it is complicated but I actually think it’s simple to explain when actually understood ‘if you are not within a second of the car in front at a line before the corner you can’t use it’.

  34. A J King says:

    In Melbourne, the timing loop is at the end of the pit straight on entry to turn 1. This means that the DRS activation will be on the straight down into turn 3, at tight 90+ degree right handed. Overtaking into this corner has been done plenty of times so it should not be too hard with DRS.

  35. Rudy Pyatt says:

    Let the drivers control the wings at-will, or don’t have the system. It’s yet another example of F1′s delight in elaboration and complexity for its own sake.

    But let me go further down the road of controversy.

    I know I’m repeating myself, but F1 HATES SIMPLICITY. I hope that I speak for at least some F1 fans when I say that what we want is simple: Get the wings off the cars! Even with that, please give us:

    VARIETY – of car, of engine, of driver, of tires, and of tracks. I’m tired of these virtually flat, luxury paddock equipped go-kart tracks masquerading as Grand Prix circuits. (And I don’t condemn Herman Tilke for this, not alone, because he’s working to the brief he’s been given, for the cars that aerocentric rules have created). Sure these tracks have some utility, but give me something epic. Run the French GP on the full LeMans 24 Hour course. Run the German GP on the Nurburgring 24 Hour course, including the Nordschleife.

    Don’t tell me that it’s “impossible” to run F1 cars on those courses. You can rock up to the ‘Ring in ANY car or motorcycle, buy tickets and run as many laps as you want. If amateurs and “lesser” professionals in sports and touring cars can safely do this every day and F1 drivers and cars can’t, it’s a sad commentary on the “pinnacle of the sport.” Build a car that can handle both the karting tracks and the real GP courses. Again, if F1 teams can’t build a car to handle both, and get drivers who can handle both, then it’s time to question the abilities of those at “the pinnacle of the sport.”

    Throw in an oval for good measure. Get the wings off. Make a front-engined car. Make a front-wheel drive car. Make a four-wheel drive car. Make cylinder layout free. Allow two-strokes and hybrids. Variety, please. And relevance, of which see more below.

    VISIBLE CAR CONTROL – We want to see the effort of the driver controlling the car, driving the thing, including drifting. In short, we want it to be obvious that there’s racing going on. There’s a reason that drift competitions have become popular, and why dirt track and rally racing, and even drag racing, remain popular: All of these disciplines unambiguously demonstrate the DRIVER’S skills, even to the casual fan or non-fan. You can admire the technology, but what counts, and what’s seen most clearly, is the effort of the folks at the wheel.

    And no, you don’t need artificial rain to get this. But you can’t drift a car with twice its weight in aerodynamic downforce pinning it to the track…

    CLOSE RACING – Not merely overtaking, but genuine DRIVER CONTROLLED opportunities to overtake. Yes, some cars and drivers will be faster than others – that’s the point. But please, please, please get rid of the chicanes and first gear corners. These are artificial and unsafe; the number of tracks at which one can say some variation on “there will be carnage at that corner” or that the cars have to able to “ride the kerbs” is ridiculous. Neither of those statements should even be possible in Grand Prix racing. First gear should never be used during a race except for the start or from the pits. Let the drivers dice, even slipstream. And don’t put down drafting. I defy anyone to claim that Peter Gethin’s famous win was anything other than thrilling. How about making that kind of racing possible again?

    RELEVANCE – Road car engineers implement aerodynamics to reduce drag, increase mileage and promote stability, not to generate more than the car’s own weight in downforce in an effort to generate cornering power. Road car engineers design engines for power, efficiency and reliability – without revving to 18,000 rpm. F1 has been aerocentric for too long. Get the wings off, but, as important, get engine variety back into the sport. Why not allow supercharged and non-supercharged engines, diesels and non-diesels in various displacements, with or without KERS? That approach will, literally, drive development in directions that make sense to the world at large. Again, “mere” sports car racing takes exactly this approach to engine regulations. That F1 continues to resist this approach is a demonstration of the “we don’t do it that way here” insularity of F1.

    SPECTACLE – F1 has this, more than anything else (except revenue). Too often, it feels like an end in itself, rather like fancy wrapping paper over the lump of coal of a soporific race. If we can get F1 to give us Variety, Visible Car Control, Close Racing and Relevance, I think we’ll have Spectacle automatically, as a product of those other factors – style as a product of substance, not as an end in itself.

    Maybe Bernie wouldn’t need to joke (I hope he was joking) about artificial rain to improve the show.

    1. unoc vII says:

      So much of that can’t be done.

      Runnig F1 on the Nordscliffe would be horrrible and impossible for 3 reasons
      1) Passing is hard…
      2) It is horribly unsafe. F1 cars travelling at 300km/h about 1 metre (3 foot 3 inches in old scale) away from driver killing walls for much of it. Armco barriers would be required for mile after mile making it impractical to say the least
      3) The fans watching at the venues wouldn’t see much. 5 minute laps approx, so you’re looking at 35 laps or so. If I went to a GP and only saw the cars 35 times and had 5 minute breaks inbetween seeing each car let alone during the saftey car period I wouldn’t go.

      Int ehory it would be great to see, in practice horrible. If you want to watch buy GT5, a PS3 and play online in a Formula car.

      F1 cars travel at over 200mph, most cars around the ring reahc anything near that around the ring. Most cars you can take around the ring have impact zones and crumple zones helping in a crash. An F1 car is at the pinacle because it doesn’t. Sure a tank can survive land mines and an F1 car can’t, does that mean an F1 car is inferior to a tank in racing? No, because an F1 is much faster and mobile, it just can’t absorb 200mph crashes or landmines.

      Also have a race requires the drivers to push to the limit, most drivers around the ring don’t. Even the factory drivers trying to get their Porsche 911 or nissan GT-R around there don’t all the way as if racing.

      Actually you can slide a car like that, when the car is going sideways it doesn’t have the downforce and sideways air mixed with foward air would cause big problems, if you want sideways action then watch rallying or topgear.

      Yes, I agree watching Senna or Prost onboard on youtube does look much more spectacular as the cars weren’t as advanced and guiding the car through a corner was much harder

      Development = difference and excitement through that. But also = money. Lots of money and then lots of the same for lots of money.
      You would need to limit each engine to make them comparable otherwise no one will go with a turbo 1.6 litre I4 when they could get a 6 Litre V12 in the car. THe power difference and no lag would eaisly smash the weight diffrence.

      And all the development would cost heaps of money which would turn more manafacturers away and at the end of the first year or two or whatever one deisng would be the fastest and everyone would just copy that rather than risking it and spending more money on something that could be pointless.

      You can’t compare that way F1 to Le Mans for example as the cars are completely different and the engines and costs are different. If you gave Ferrari the ability they would be testing on their own track ensuring everything is the best and everything is fully tested while the Sauber wouldn’t actually exist anymore.

      I don’t see how having free engine development is ‘relevance’. Any engine that has been developed for racing isn’t going to be relevant to road cars. Even road car engines that have been developed into race car engines aren’t that relevant.

      No team will develop a Front engined car nor a Front wheel drive car as it will ruin the cornering. Even if you allowed the teams with a FF setup (front engined, Front driving) to have an extra 200bhp than anyone else it would still destroy the cornering so much that except in the odd occasion would that car be anywhere near the front.

      And ovals are boring. If you want ovals go watch Nascar or Indy. And that is completely differnet ‘racing’

      Your ideas are impractical at best and hideous at worst. Read through with some common sense what you have throught of maybe what will really hit you is…

      that your ideas aren’t any better than Bernie’s…

      Only I don’t think Bernie means them all

      1. Wombat says:

        The OP hit the nail on the head, your attempt to defend current F1 is total failure.

        F1 needs a big fix, to put the center attraction of driver skill back to the fore.

        We don’t care for extreme aero, where cars drive on rails through corners.

        We need more engine power and less aero simple.

        This would ensure cars need to be driven, and not cruised to the finish line.

        F1 has minimal entertainment value in its current format. The only reason I’m here, is the vein hope that F1 recognizes it failings.

      2. irish con says:

        i agree with that. more power less aero and make the brakes much worse aswell to increase the braking distances. id also love these pirelli tyres when they are done to be the best a tyre is grip wise and that it makes the drivers make mistakes if people follow me. make a very poor grip tyre that doesnt fade but is very hard to drive quickly and consistenly and who cares if drivers complain as its the fans that should be kept happy.

      3. unoc vII says:

        I’m not disagreeing with the OP’s intent to make F1 more interesting and better watching.

        Wathcing Senna or Prost onboard on youtube is far more exciting that Hamilton gliding his car around the track.

        But his reasoning of why F1 cars should go around the Nordscliffe or how spending literally billions of dollars on new engines for them all to end up the same as someone finds the fastest/best way is really that good.

        It will also increase speeds overall which will make it even less safe and frankly I don’t want think ‘wow…. only 8 more days till the 2011 season starts.. but luck dictates that 1 of those 24 drivers will be dead by the end’.

        And if you combine F1 with bigger engines, harder to drive and unsafe tracks (like the nordscliffe) then it spells disaster.

        I want to see engine differences but unfortunately it doesn’t look likely to happen. Only thing I can think of is

        xL V12
        1.6L I4 turbocharged

        One has slightly more power the other slightly less weight.

        Ifyou let it free scalethen poo will hitthe fan, all manafacturers will ditch and not go near it and will we end up withe everyone driving around in Ferrari whatever they decide.

        Putting it simply.
        Diesel – Won’t be chosen. Engines are way heavier. Used in Le Mans and such as it burns less fuel so you can stop less, also in a heavier car it makes less difference. F1 cars don’t pit for fuel anyway so even at the start the extra fuel wouldn’t be that much more, and within a few laps the heavier engine would be a bigger problem.
        Hybrids – KERS is already here, but a proper hybrid needs bigger batteries which means more problems for reliability, and fraknkly watching a couple of drivers DNF due to battery packs not working (just look at Williams who own a hybrid businesss finding it hard) isn’t exactly exciting. If they could make it big enough it could work, but with todays technology it would be alot to spend.

        So that leaves the good old petrol engine. And as I said before if it’s left free scale then it be developed by a certain red team into oblivion and quite a bit by a silver team. Everyone else will go.

        Now how fun would that be? Everyone with Ferrari or Mercedes engines and knowing that most probably one driver will be dead by the end of the season! Awesome huh?….. not

    2. James Draper says:

      That really is a dream isn’t it. I think the reason why everything is standardized is to reduce development and operating costs so that secondary teams can afford to compete. We unfortunately are watching an advertising funded spectacle and there isn’t much room for advertising on 6 cars. Also some rich nations will probably not pay to have a GP with a field of 6.

  36. Jason Evans says:

    I’m reserving judgement on this too.

    We all know that the problem with trying to overtake is compromised by dirty air coming off the car in front. If a designer can create dirty air without compromising his own cars performance then of course he will do if it makes life difficult for the chasing car.

    If this dirty air cannot be got rid of my other means, then having a device that cancels out the effect of the dirty air, such as the DRS, then (at this time) I am OK with it… BUT only if it does just neutralise the dirty air problem. My fear though is that the FIA might not see enough overtaking and increase its usage too much, to the benefit of the chasing car.

    Overall though, I’d rather see no dirty air (which I guess can never be totally eradicated) and no DRS.

  37. Rich C says:

    I actually don’t mind the movable wing. Its the completely idiotic way in which it will be “managed” by “higher authority” that I object to!
    There’s just NO reason at all for all this ’1-second’ stuff. Let ‘em build it and let ‘em race!

    In fact imho there should be no rules at all regarding ‘movable aero devices.’

    Its just a pack of failed FIA lawyers wanting to be “in control” of *something.

  38. James Draper says:

    I don’t like the idea of systems that provide a temporary boost like this because naturally an assortment of technical rules will follow add confusion and cause perceived bias. Pretty soon there will be rules like no use of the DRS if you are on the lap you are lapped. Followed by no use of the DRS on the lap after a safety car or until the race is 2 laps old. I hope nobody gets hurt as a result of these devices failure.

    As far as rule changes go I would have much rather seen a mandatory 100km/h cruise control replace the safety car, unlimited KERS, more time for Q3, tyre bonus for passing a qualifying session, points for fastest lap and qualifying P1, and above all the winning race engineer needs to be at the post race interview.

  39. Steve JR says:

    Let the whacky races commence…

  40. Harv says:

    What’s to stop two cars/drivers who are evenly matched overtaking each other every second lap? Unless i’ve missed something, in which case I apologise. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the trailing car to have to be 1 second behind another car for a fixed number of consecutive laps, hence illustrating that the car in front isn’t pulling away, for it to then be allowed to be used? If car#1 was 0.2sec faster than car#2 then they can still overtake every second lap even though car#1 is genuinely faster.

    1. James Draper says:

      See comment 46 also. This is going to be really interesting for a few races. Then a rule change will be implemented and some fans will claim this is bias towards a certain team or driver. Then it will be interesting again. Did anyone else notice that Alonso shaved his eyebrows?

  41. JohnBt says:

    Sounds rather complex. Being able to apply DRS anytime during practice and qualifying but not race. What if four cars are bunched up. Or if a car is on it’s own, will he be able to use DRS for a faster lap.

    Personally I feel it’s over gadgetised.

    Guess we’ll have to observe the first race at Melbourne.

  42. BA says:

    DRS above, fast degrading Pirelli underneath. The combination is more like placebo!

  43. For Sure says:

    Hmmm, to me its like saying, in football you can use elbow to hit the ball when you are in the penalty area.
    See, the point is that its a completely new skill for the players and the guy who can deliver the best elbow probably won’t be considered as a good footballer because this is “football”.

    The fundamental of overtaking is all about out-breaking, having a better exist or bigger balls, certainly not pressing the button.
    God I hate that rule. Its too artificial.
    Pit-stops are already too confusing for a guy who reads JA’s blog everyday and now they want to introduce rear wing that works within one second…. ????
    Sign…

  44. Thebe says:

    This could be tricky, drivers should be left to race each other the best way they know how that’s it.

  45. van potman says:

    As long as the stupid DRS device is present, they should consider another way of using it: during race, all drivers can use it freely except when they can’t go away from the following car more than 1s in less than 2 laps, or 6 traps in a row. Then their device should be disarmed for 1 lap. It will serve good for avoiding trains.

    1. jonrob says:

      How about: It is only allowed on alternate laps on even numbered dates when the moon is in the first quarter and the chief steward is wearing a green shirt and a top hat. Otherwise on odd dates in a waning moon phase, blue shirt and bowler.

  46. Badrel says:

    It is clear when there two cars, but what if there are tree cars (less frequent situation but happens sometimes)?
    Number 1
    (+0,552)
    Number 2
    (+0,663)
    Number 3.
    Who can use DRS to overtake? And what if number 3 overtakes number 1 and 2 in one move using DRS? How to decide if number 2 is using DRS to overtake or defend or both at the same time?

    1. iceman says:

      Both 2 and 3 are less than 1 second behind the car in front of them so can use the DRS. 3 gets a 2-car slipstream as well, so might pass 1, even from a long way back, but probably won’t 2 since 2 is also using his DRS. 1 goes from first to 3rd. Or from first to the gravel trap in a tangled mess with 3, who arrived at the corner going 20kph faster.

  47. Mark says:

    I’m not quite sure where the confusion is with this? Seems a simple concept. “driver reduces drag in car by pressing button in car if he is 1 second behind the car in front at a designated part of the track”. Would take me 30 seconds to explain to someone, perhaps a minute if they had questions.

    I’m going to enjoy watching this unfold in the first few races. Heck it might even work and assist in a bigger spectacle. I’d be just as happy if it wasn’t part of the guidelines, but it is, so let’s see how it plays

  48. Andy Fov says:

    The majority is clearly opposed to this DRS advice, I’m giving it a chance.

    Have we forgotten the dull processional races? Instances where Alonso can get stuck behind Petrov for a whole race? Consider those and ask yourself whether something had to change.

    I think in principle this is a good idea. It’s just ironic that this year with its tyre variation and diffuser ban that it’s been brought in when it won’t be needed. We’ll see.

  49. Phil says:

    I think we should all wait and see on the DRS. It’s important to remember that in an F1 racing situation if you can sit less than 1 second behind another car, you are probably quite a bit faster. For the most part the passes we have seen in recent years, had more to do with tyre differentials or track design than the size of a drivers balls. The DRS was designed to allow a car that can get within 1 second a chance to get past (it was the same hope for the adjustable front wing.

    20 years ago I would have gone in search of examples myself, but can any body give me examples where a car has sat behind another car, maybe 1 second behind for 10 laps and then pounced when the chance arrives. Rubens on Michael last year, but this was tire related. If you can close in on the guy at 1 second a lap, you probably still don’t have the performance advantage to get by.

    Anyway, for years I’ve been keen to see away with the Bridgestone Bedrock Specials. Hards and softs should have a large performance differential, both in wear and lap speed.

    As for the DRS, I am happy to wait and see. If they don’t try these things, we will complain about the rules anyway.

  50. UncleZen says:

    The DRS is there as a result of the current aero rules that effectively prevent a car getting close to the one in front. 1 second is very close, it might be difficult to get into that zone anyway. And when you do whoopeee. 1 finger on the DRS button and one on the KERS button and they fly by, all in the space of a few hundred metres.
    Qualy will be more challenging, using the DRS on any straight to maximise speed (probably too dangerous on corners) and the KERS when charged to give more power. Thats quite a challenge for the driver. Those who get it right will reap rewards.

  51. Paul Mc says:

    Im totally against artificial overtaking. To me its Playstation style racing that while may be pleasing to the occasional F1 watcher, it leaves me feeling rather sad that we have come to this point in the sport. F1 lacks clear direction and focus and while Bernie has done a lot for the sport his artifical rain nonsense in the media goes a long way to proving that the sport is in need of new management and a renewed focus.

    What is F1 trying to be? Is it trying to be MotoGP with four wheels? Are we looking for overtaking at every corner? I will accept that some races in previous seasons have been a bit processional but there is still an intrigue and excitement in the race strategy but i guess that the average F1 watcher would not get as much out of this as i would.

    In my view the FIA are doing everything they can to take away the skill of the driver and put more focus on positioning F1 as an entertainment package rather than a highly technical sport. I guess when you have huge investment and commerical pressure, the sport has inevitably bowed and pandered to the masses.

    Let me ask you this, im Lewis Hamilton on the last lap of the F1 season in a fight for the title with Vettel. Im on the back straight nearing the final corner and i press a button to overtake him and win. Bar the accolades and media attention is there any joy to be had here from a drivers perspective? Sure i won but by pressing a button not by skill, courage or risk taking.

    I sometimes wonder what Ayrton Senna would have made of all this if he were alive today.

  52. MikiG says:

    James, what about if three or four cars following each other and there is 1 sec between them. How the rule will be applied? Just the last one will be allowed to use the system?

    1. James Allen says:

      All the cars behind the lead one can use their DRS

  53. Jonathan Strutt says:

    James this is a great site. no password, and seem like genuine fans. Have enjoyed your stuff for years. Not sorry to see Jonathan Legard go from commentary on Beeb. Martin Brundle also superb. David Coulthard is a much better commentator than he was a driver.

  54. snafuracer says:

    There is some logic in the idea altogether, but they should have allowed them [drivers] to use it everywhere on the track at their disposal, otherwise I think it will simply be useless most of the time. But fair judgment shall come after a few races.

  55. Donald, Edinburgh. says:

    Will this make F1 even harder for rookies to broach?

    It’s not curvilinear from GP2 any more as F1 now involves more than just a step-up in grip (which was evidently very significant to begin with, judging by Grosjean etc).

  56. jonrob says:

    This whole discussion will be academic if the off line is full of marbles. There will be no overtaking on the track regardless of any artificial aids. This season is going to be about tactics, who has the best software and the best brain off track, that is why I might give Schumacher a fighting chance this year, assuming Ross is still calling the shots.
    Red bull on the other hand may prove susceptible to their internal insurgent. (known as Herr Marko)
    McLaren need to pull their socks up and get on with it, “Time to get that sandbag out of the boot!”

  57. Merlinghnd says:

    I think we should take a chill pill on this and give it a chance over a few races. Bahrain was the most boring race of last season followed by one of the most exciting seasons. This device brings an added burden to the drivers and an unpredictability to the race. Not good for the driver, good for the spectator. Drivers generally hate the rain, spectators (at home at least!!)like it for its unpredictability and ability to level the field out from their machinery. Everyone can have DRS, everyone operates to the same set of rules. Cost wise, I would have thought it reasonable in F1 terms so cost effective. How much money has been thrown at KERS over the last few years?? Ultimately we all want to see overtaking not a car holding others up but cannot be overtaken (Abu Dhabi).
    Intersting times, cannot wait for the season to start.

  58. John Wilson says:

    I like a few others have been watching for years. This moveable wing is not a bad idea. But the controversy will start when the leader perhaps Schumacher or Alonso won’t let the second place car by at the end of the straight at the corner turn in. A wreck will happen and then everyone will complain that Alonso or Schumacher didn’t let them in. All they were doing was defending their position. The passing is going to look artificial with the lead car only able to defend once.
    I say everyone qualify in their proper cars. Then draw lots and swap cars for the race.

  59. Alan Dove says:

    No wonder Alonso has stated he wants to go back to driving karts after F1. :) It’s all getting rather too complex.

    The purist in me thinks this is complete and utter nonsense. F1 is becoming a farcical fairground ride! It’s rather embarrassing at times explaining F1 to people.

    BUT…. it’s going to be a great laugh. F1 is entertainment, pure and simple, and if you suspend any hang-ups you have it will be a fun year.

  60. Ian H says:

    I’m still to be convinvced that the DRS device is the way to go – but will wait to see how this will work over the first few races.

    With the designated area being decided/marked out on the track the lead driver is going to go super defensive into this ‘zone’ keeping inside line etc and possibly even trying to slow following driver before entering the straight (brake testing/going slower through previous corners to try to get q

  61. Dave says:

    I think its telling that I haven’t seen a single positive comment on a single web site about the moveable rear wing and associated artificial rules.

    For me, being a purist, I hate the whole idea, however, it is symptomatic of where we’ve got to with the current aero rules that this is required to stop Fernando getting stuck in the mid field.

    Just a thought. Would Button have been able to hold off Alonso for 2/3 of the race at Monza last year if they’d had the DRS or would we have been robbed of that dramatic race with Alonso driving off into the sunset?

  62. Ben M says:

    Wonder where the zone will be in Monaco?

    Also, where exactly is the “detection zone” in Melbourne? Before the last corner, or on the exit? The reason I ask is that the back of the grid in Melbourne is very close to the exit of the last corner – is it possible that cars toward the back of the field will be able to use it on the run down to turn 1 at the start?

    1. James Allen says:

      Teams are working on the belief the overtake zone is on pit straight

      1. UncleZen says:

        Personally I think the “zone” should be into turn 3 as its preceeded by a longer straight than the start finish straight and is where *most* overtaking is done in melbourne

    2. Nick H says:

      The regulations state you can’t use it on the first two laps of the race, or the first two laps after a safety car.

  63. RichT says:

    I don’t agree with DRS. Bloody ridiculous. Even if the system works, the element of surprise has been factored out, there being designated times and areas in which it can be employed. So what is the point?

    In my opinion, what’s being done is being done at the wrong end. By that, I mean all manner of bolt-on’s are being tacked onto a set of rules and regs that are already overbloated. What is needed, is a redesign of the aforementioned. Before that, the matter of F1 and greeness should be fully discussed.

    F1, is not about being ‘Green’ and never has been. Rather, it is about maximum speed, thrills and excitement. It is about sensorial overload. When I go to a race, I want my senses assaulted. I want to be amazed by the sight of it. I want to be able to smell it and have my ears assaulted. I need to come away from a race with happy memories, not regrets and/or complaints. I want to be passionate about F1, not half-hearted, but the more dilute if becomes, the less enthusiastic I am.

    In my opinion, F1 at its best is equivalent to a full English breakfast, whereas, being green is akin to having a leaf salad. I drool at the prospect of the former, but cannot begin to enthuse about the latter. Remember the old saying, a little of what you fancy does you good? I do, and green F1 is not what I fancy!

    All well and good trying to bring more excitement to the sport, but there is a huge difference between boosting viewing figures and attracting fans. Actually, real fans will be abhored by, turned-off by the gimmicks, of which this is another example. As for the suggestion of sprinklers: my derriere! As usual, the sport will be tailored to suit the wishes of those who do or hope to make money from it. At some point, that will eventually kill it.

    Enough already. If getting back to proper racing, in bleeding edge, out-and-out racing cars, by real enthusiasts, for true fans, means the formation of a breakaway group, then I am for it.

  64. James Draper says:

    Mr. Allen,

    I thought of the following and please provide your input on the rules effects to team driving.

    The potential complication is team driving. Assuming using the DRS provides a significant time advantage we may see team mates or even friendlies from other teams deliberately passing to mutually allow the boost on each lap. Could this even evolve into a peloton group?

    1. Rich C says:

      It’ll be more like those huge NASCAR “drafting trains” wherein a dozen or so cars pull out and just sail right past the hapless leader.

      1. The other Ian says:

        Can you imagine, if that “hapless leader” was Alonso? He will blow a fuse, moaning about people ganging up on him! :)

  65. Monjimike says:

    Now I’ll have even harder times trying to convince my sister that F1 is simple and the Best sport in the world

  66. Black Knight says:

    Wait until a driver loses a race over an “offside” penality for depolying a wing too early – or with an improper gap ahead. The whole thing is comically flawed. It’s Monty Python goes racing.

    Bring on the sprinklers.

  67. Joe says:

    Hi James,

    How likely do you think it will be that either or both of the Hispania cars fail to set a Q1 time within 107% in Melbourne? I gather from another post of yours that they haven’t done ANY testing??!

    If I can quote you in my F1 season preview for my university student newspaper that would be great!

    Cheers

    1. James Allen says:

      They seem to be pretty confident, but without testing who knows? They will need to be within less than six seconds of the fastest car in Q1. It’s not a position most engineers and drivers would want to be in

  68. russ says:

    more goofy rulemaking.We will see how alonso reacts to having a penalty take a win away from him.Hes going to snap!,run over and punch Massa and then go kick a competitors car.
    Wait a minute this is a “better show”
    More wacky racer rules for me please.

    1. Rich C says:

      K, how about *this: at a pitstop the driver must leap out and run around the car, assisting the tire guys as he goes.

      Now *that would be entertainment!

  69. Eamonn says:

    If this device is being introduced for the purposes of aiding overtaking then why is it allowed to be used throughout practise and qualifying? Rubens Barrichello has already voiced concerns in relation to safety on this matter but they seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

  70. Tim Parry says:

    SHEESH! I’m getting a headache just thinking about this. There’s got to be a simpler, more elegant way to make a pass than this. It reminds me of an old Rube Goldberg cartoon.

  71. guy says:

    If the following car overtakes the car in front before he uses his DRS will he be able to us it to pull away?

  72. Richard says:

    It sounds horrendously complicated and has no place in real motor racing. OK, its motive of improving overtaking is good, but to deliberately disadvantage a leading car over a (slower) chasing car cannot be right. The real answer to overtaking must be to change the aerodynamics so that there is not so much turbulent air behind cars. It also flies in the face of driving down costs of F1.

    1. Rich C says:

      Many ppl have tried to figure this out and failed. Apparently at 200mph it is not possible to eliminate wake turbulence.

  73. Wombat says:

    [Mod] Read the rules, please.

    The stewarding standards in F1, are almost as bad as the poorly designed aero on the F1 car that have handicapped the drivers from overtaking.

    The real problem is aero – the size needs reducing, and all the problems will reduce.

    The key to overtaking is ensuring there is a huge differential in top speeds on straights and slow speed on corners. The difference is where overtaking opportunities and excitement occur. Whiting has failed to address this basic problem for years.

    Whiting may infact be one of the underlying problems in allowing F1 to change for the better.

  74. Robin says:

    Can someone aid my understanding here – Driver B is less than 1 second behind Driver A so at certain points on track he can “engage” the rear wing and try to pass? Ok, think I got that. But can Driver A still try to block (the one move across)?

    If yes, I’m thinking the speed differential could be easily misjudged by Driver A and create a Webber/Valencia incident.

    Thoughts?

  75. ACB says:

    It is a rather strange thing to tell the teams they can have some sort of a DRS but have banned the driver operated F-duct. As I stated in a previous post on this thread, I don’t think it will be an issue for the TV watchers to get DRS, any more than it was trouble to understand the moveable front wing. I guess I’m a true fan in that there’s always something to quibble about, yet I’m rather annoyed with these sort of ‘throw-it-against the wall and see if it sticks’ regulation changes that are allowed, tried, then dropped all the while FiA, FOM, and FOTA belly-ache about how much it costs to bring the circus to town. The teams can spend millions to develop DRS systems, but they’re limited in the wind-tunnel. You can spend millions on KERS, but not on engine development-until the next engine specification comes along.

    1. Rich C says:

      FIA’s ‘top management’ could not control *when a driver chose to use the F-Duct.

      But this gizmo is purpose-designed for ‘them’ to micromanage it’s use during the race.

      Next year they will introduce a variable turbo pressure gimmick so they can slow a driver down if he gets too far ahead.

      Its all about control.

  76. Bayan says:

    I’d love to see no DRS, unlimited KERS and tyre wars. Maybe even more than 2 tyre suppliers.

    1. James Allen says:

      Tyre wars are incredibly expensive, as they require loads of testing

      1. Nando says:

        If the tyre companies are paying for them who cares?

  77. bertone says:

    What if more drivers to go behind each other, within 1-1 seconds? Who can activate the wings?

  78. tim says:

    well the green light is given for all teams to use flexi wings, because according to fia whiting, there is nothing wrong in having flexi wings, even though the red bull mechanics were seen frantically repairing wing endplates in australia, where damage had occured, due to grating on the ground, the wings are supposed to stay rigid, and not bend to the track, but thats f1 for you, so all the other teams will have flexi wings soon, and this shows f1 for what it is.

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